Fishville 'Lighting of the Village' shines again in Punta Gorda

The “Lighting of the Village” celebration at Fishermen’s Village in Punta Gorda was a hit Nov. 16, 2019. Fishville representatives believe they surpassed their estimated 8,000 guests of the 2018 “lighting” event. In 2020, the event had to be canceled due to coronavirus. The celebration returns to Fishville tonight.

PUNTA GORDA — With more than a million lights strung and set to shine throughout the holidays, Fishermen’s Village “Lighting of the Village” celebration returns.

The holiday celebration officially kicks off at 5 p.m. Saturday at Fishermen’s Village, 1200 W. Retta Esplanade, in Punta Gorda.

Local residents and visitors can enjoy traditional-themed holiday décor and lights both inside and outside the waterfront mall.

“We are thrilled to once again bring our community together for the most anticipated evening of the year as we illuminate more than one million lights and decorations for the annual Lighting of the Village,” Fishville events manager Kathy Burnam said.

Burnam said visitors will experience new additions to this year’s Festival of Lights, along with multiple photo opportunity locations.

The Festival of Lights were on display last year a the village, but an official lighting ceremony was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Being able to actually conduct the ceremony after our dedicated staff has worked so hard over the past several months to make this year’s display ‘over the top’ means the world to them,” Burnam said, on behalf of both herself and Fishville General Manager Patti Allen.

WHAT TO SEE

Festivities begin at 5 p.m. as Santa arrives at the village’s front entrance with the help of Punta Gorda Fire Chief Ray Briggs’ antique fire truck and the Suncoast Brass Heralding Trumpeters.

At 5:15 p.m., an official ribbon cutting ceremony will take place with Santa and local dignitaries.

This year’s ribbon cutting will also include a vocal performance by singer Isabella Stefania.

The Lee County Pipes and Drums Band will also be on hand to parade through the village, followed by a performance in the village’s center court area.

Other performances include live music/dancing with the Shane Duncan Band, pictures with Santa and The Grinch, festival glitter and tattoos by Star Valle, balloon creations by Jeff the Juggler, and complimentary refreshments courtesy of Fishermen’s Village merchants.

HOW TO GET IN

Entry to the celebration is free; however, organizers encourage guests to bring toiletries and hygiene items to be donated to “Share The Blessings Ministry”, an all-volunteer, nonprofit charity benefiting those in need in Charlotte County.

Its mission is to provide hygiene, cleaning and non-perishable food items which serve over 500 individuals and 150 families each month.

PARKING

Due to the popularity of this event, parking will fill up fast, according to a Fishville news release.

Organizers say guests should arrive early. Security personnel will be offering golf cart rides throughout the evening to transport patrons to to the village entrance.

Fishermen’s Village Waterfront Mall, Resort and Marina is on Marion Avenue, Punta Gorda. From Interstate 75, take exit 164, turn left and proceed 3 miles to Fishermen’s Village.

Call 941-639-8721 for more information or visit on line at www.fisher mensvillage.com

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